One of the things that has been handed down to us, as a legacy from our parent organization, is the fact that if we are indeed part of the body of Christ, then we must keep the Spiritual Laws(the ten commandments).
Some of those who are newly called to the truth have gotten the idea that we think that because we must keep the laws that the act of keeping them somehow qualifies us for the Kingdom of God.
Something about how we keep the laws seems to trigger this idea in some new folks. So I got to thinking about why this might be.
Those of us who have been around and understand know that our righteousness, our ability to keep God’s Laws does not ensure our salvation. Only our faith in Christ and the faith of Christ ensures that we gain salvation. Rom. 3:28
So what is going on.
The Apostle Paul tells us that the law is good;
(Rom 7:12) Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
1Ti 1:8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
Take note as we will come back to it that Paul says the law is good IF we use it lawfully. Interesting wording is it not?
Paul goes on to tell us that lawbreakers will not enter into the Kingdom;
(1Co 6:9) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
(1Co 6:10) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
(Gal 5:21) Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
So we were taught to focus our Christian lives on keeping God’s laws basically as a way of showing our love and obediance to God the Father and Jesus Christ.
But look at those last two scriptures more closely and look at what it does NOT say. It does not say that keeping the law will ensure that we enter into the Kingdom of God. Keeping the law does not save us.
Here are a few of the scriptures that clearly show that;
The Righteousness of God Through Faith
Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Rom 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Rom 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Rom 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Rom 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Rom 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
Rom 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
I know that most of you understand what is being said here but there are some, especially new members, who seem to get the wrong idea and I believe it is because of how some of us act regarding the keeping of God’s law. I think that we APPEAR to believe in justification by law rather than be faith. We know better but our actions appear to show something else to the uninitiated.
(Tit 3:5) Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Many of us, especially, I believe, those who have the Laodicean attitude of mind spoken of in Rev 3:16-17, are acting like the Pharisees that Christ condemned and it is causing damage to others as well as to themselves.
(Mat 23:23) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
(Mat 23:24) Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
(Mat 23:25) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
Do you see how the Laodicean attitude of having “need of nothing” can only come to be if they believe that what they know and the laws they keep are somehow ensuring their entry into the Kingdom of God, when in fact it is not. They know the truth. If you asked any of them if keeping the law saved them they would immediately deny it. Yet their actions deny that. They are so focused on keeping the laws that they are missing entirely the “weightier matters of the law” We are so focused on our differences that we forget altogether our similarities which far out weigh the differences. New people coming in see the animosity shown those who are obviously part of the body of Christ but not part of their particular grouping of God’s people.
This is, as was mentioned above, using the law unlawfully! We keep the law because we have the Spirit of God within us and the Spirit will not guide us in any other way. By walking in the Spirit we put away the pulls of the flesh and keep the law. But when you use the keeping of the law in such a way as to make others think that you believe that it will save you then truly you are not using the law lawfully at all.
We need to be conscious of how we look to others, brethren. Remember what James said:
(Jas 2:18) Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
(Jas 2:19) Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
(Jas 2:20) But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
The works are not saving us, they merely show that we are being saved by the FAITH of Christ that exists within us. It is the faith we need to be focusing on not the keeping of the law. That comes as a result of the faith not the other way around.